The first official release of Songbird fork Nightingale has been made available for download.

What’s it like? Is it worth installing? Let’s take a quick look and see…

Songbird Vs Nightingale

Songbird was always one of those media players that was better on paper than it was in practice. Bloated and unsightly, its strongest asset laid, arguably, in its multi-platform support. But even this didn’t last long: official support for Linux builds of the Gecko-using player was culled in April 2010.

But that’s not where the songbird stopped flying over the lands of Linux – two approaches emerged. The first of these saw the Songbird community pick up support for Linux builds of the player, providing unofficial 32bit builds of the app sans warranty.

The second saw a group of third-party Songbird enthusiasts dust off the body of the Songbird and attempt to fashion it into something better. Their work resulted in Nightingale – an application that doesn’t retain complete feature parity with the latest builds of Songbird, but cherry picks the best changes and improves features already there.

Despite the slightly different tacts taken by both teams the resulting apps both look, feel and work pretty much exactly the same.

Nightingale does feel nippier and sits on far less RAM than Songbird, but importing my tens-of-thousands strong music library still takes far longer than I’d like, however.

There are a handful of add-ons available for the app including Last.FM scrobbling, coverflow-style media view, and additional ‘feathers’.

Nightingale for Linux

Interface wise it’s clear that some work has been done to beautify the app, but the application still sticks out like a thumb that has courted the wrong end of a hammer. Much of this is not the fault of Nightingale per-se but the ‘toolkits’ they’re stuck using.

Fans of system integration should note that Nightingale lacks support for App Menus and the Ubuntu Sound Menu.

New in Nightingale

Since we took a gander at the preview release of the app in December of last year a few things have changed:

  • Based on the latest Songbird
  • Play Queue feature added
  • Updated default feather
  • Update functionality (doesn’t appear to work in Ubuntu)
  • Bug fixes and performance improvements including faster search
  • Uses XULRunner and Gecko 1.9.2
  • Typo corrections

Worth installing?

Whether you want to install Nightingale depends on your fondness for the applications’ previous incarnation – and even then you will likely prefer using the pseudo-official and branded build available on the Songbird Wiki.

But overall the app still suffers from the same flaws found in Songbird – the largest of which is offering nothing that native, lighter players don’t.

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